Bard’s coming back.

The Boston Red Sox announced Thursday that Daniel Bard is being sent to the Portland Sea Dogs next week to begin the 2013 season.

Boston made three other roster moves before its Thursday night exhibition game. Shortstop Stephen Drew was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list (retroactive to March 27). First baseman Mauro Gomez and infielder Brock Holt to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Bard, 27, had a disappointing season last year when he tried to become a starter. He went back to the bullpen but wasn’t the same dominating reliever.

This spring training, working with new manager John Farrell and new pitching coach Juan Nieves, Bard has been working at returning to his old form.

It apparently is going to take some more time. It was not shocking that Bard was sent back to the minors, but the fact that he went to Double-A Portland instead of Triple-A Pawtucket, was a surprise.

Nieves told that Bard went to Double-A so he would not rush trying to get back to the majors.

“This is a process,” Nieves said. “Consistency is going to be very important it’s not a demotion.

“He knows it’s going to take time.”

Bard, a first-round draft pick out of the University of North Carolina in 2006, last pitched for the Sea Dogs in 2008. He reached the majors in 2009 and began dominating in 2010 (1.93 ERA). He looked solid for most of 2011 but then tried starting last year. He had a 6.22 ERA as a starter and reliever in 2012.

Bard looked improved this spring training, but still had trouble with consistency.

The Sea Dogs begin their season next Thursday at 6 p.m., at Hadlock, against the Trenton Thunder.

Staff writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

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Twitter: ClearTheBases